1989 the number another summer (get down)
Sound of the funky drummer
Music hittin' your heart cause I know you got soul
(Brothers and sisters, hey)
Listen if you're missin' y'all
Swingin' while I'm singin'
Givin' whatcha gettin'
Knowin' what I know
While the Black bands sweatin'
And the rhythm rhymes rollin'
Got to give us what we want
Gotta give us what we need
Our freedom of speech is freedom or death
We got to fight the powers that be

Lemme hear you say
Fight the power
Lemme hear you say
Fight the power

Lemme hear you say
Fight the power
Lemme hear you say
Fight the power

Lemme hear you say
Fight the power
Lemme hear you say
Fight the power
We've got to fight the powers that be

As the rhythm designed to bounce
What counts is that the rhymes
Designed to fill your mind
Now that you've realized the prides arrived
We got to pump the stuff to make us tough
From the heart
It's a start, a work of art
To revolutionize make a change nothin's strange
People, people we are the same
No we're not the same
'Cause we don't know the game
What we need is awareness, we can't get careless
You say what is this?
My beloved lets get down to business
Mental self defensive fitness
(Yo) bum rush the show
You gotta go for what you know
Make everybody see, in order to fight the powers that be
Lemme hear you say
Fight the Power

Lemme hear you say
Fight the power
Lemme hear you say
Fight the power

Lemme hear you say
Fight the power
Lemme hear you say
Fight the power

Lemme hear you say
Fight the power
Lemme hear you say
Fight the power
We've got to fight the powers that be

Elvis was a hero to most
But he never meant, to me you see
Straight up racist that sucker was
Simple and plain
Mother, him and John Wayne
'Cause I'm Black and I'm proud
I'm ready and hyped plus I'm amped
Most of my heroes don't appear on no stamps
Sample a look back you look and find
Nothing but rednecks for four hundred years if you check
Don't worry be happy
Was a number one jam
Damn if I say it you can slap me right here
(Get it) lets get this party started right
Right on, c'mon
What we got to say
Power to the people no delay
To make everybody see
In order to fight the powers that be

(Fight the power)



Lyrics submitted by fresh

"Fight the Power" as written by Carlton Ridenhour, James Henry Boxley Iii, Keith M. Boxley, Eric T. Sadler

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group, REACH MUSIC PUBLISHING

Lyrics powered by LyricFind


Fight the Power song meanings
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32 Comments

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  • +3
    General Comment:Public Enemy were one of the best Rap acts of all time. Fight The Power is one of the best rap songs ever in my opinion. But like so many black people they were misinformed about Elvis.
    "The only thing black people can do for me is shine my shoes and buy my music" - Elvis Presley.

    That quote was fabricated by a writer who didn't like Elvis. Keep in mind that rock 'n roll was still new in the 50s and a lot of the then older generation didn't like it. I can't believe some people still believe that old wives tale...including Chuck D. If Elvis was such a racist why did he give to black charities?? If he was such a racist why did he always acknowledge black R&B artists like Wynonie Harris and Fats Dominoe? If he was such a racist why did he copy so many old blues songs? "That's Alright Mama"..."Shake Rattle And Roll" and others were written by black artists. I was like a lot of other African Americans in this country at one time believing that myth, but not seeing any proof. I've heard other blacks say things like...oh Elvis said that on a talk show...or he said it in a magazine. Well show me the clip...surely it must exist if he actually said it. Show me the magazine article....it must exist if he said it...RIGHT??? But I've never seen it and I don't think I ever will because I don't think he ever said it. Some rumors don't die, they just become urban myths and keep on going. As for me personally, I think Elvis was cool. He had a distinct voice and knew how to rock and roll unlike anyone else. Was he the King of Rock and Roll? Not in my eyes...that title should go to Chuck Berry if anyone. But Elvis was certainly a part of the Rock and Roll Royal family.

    James Brown said of Elvis - "...he taught white America to get down."
    MrLongroveon March 03, 2005   Link
  • +2
    General Comment:This is pretty much the best rap song in history...
    kmk_natashaon December 14, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General Comment:Yeah, Rosie Perez poppin' and lockin' to the PE is a helluva way to start a movie.

    This song made me respect John Wayne and Elvis Presley less. I think the U.S. postal service started honoring more people of various races because of this song, too.
    Black Dahliaon November 03, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General Comment:MrLongrove - my mistake, you're right:
    snopes.com/music/artists/…

    Amazing myths like that stick around that long...

    ...but i never said Elvis wasn't cool. He was.
    Chinupon March 10, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General Comment:Elvis was a hero to most
    But he never meant shit to me you see
    Straight up racist that sucker was
    Simple and plain
    Mother fuck him and John Wayne

    Metaphor nothing - those lyrics are far more hateful than anything Elvis ever sang. All because Chuck D. believed a rumor.
    MrLongroveon July 07, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General Comment:I just found out about the ignorant catfish remark. But I still don't think Elvis was a racist. I doubt he would have hired those singers in the first place if he was all that racist. Keep in mind...that was the doped up soon to be dead Elvis. His mind fried by all those drugs.
    MrLongroveon July 21, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General Comment:if you don't like do the right thing, or this song, you are obviously very ignorant. the movie was a sensation and said so much about the times. there isn't a better movie dealing with racism from all perspectives. and basically, you suck.
    alivianon April 11, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General Comment:Looks like you and Mr. Foxman got it wrong JimDurb.

    "Swindlers Lust" contains lines such as "Mo dollars, mo cents for the Big Six/ Another million led to bled claiming their innocence." Chuck D has said the "Big Six" refers to the six major music corporations — Sony, Time Warner, EMI, BMG, Universal and PolyGram (now known as the Big Five after last year's merger of Universal and PolyGram) — and Atomic Pop Vice President Liz Morentin explained that the "million" lyric was a nod to the Million Man March of 1995.

    Probably need to check your facts before you start to pontificate about specters and apparitions of divisiveness and bigotry. P.E. probably should have done this as well.
    mjsmith1977on July 10, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General Comment:At the end of the day Chuck D is an expert in soundbites and metaphors. The soundbite is attention grabbing and makes the listener sit up and take notice (early Manic Street Preachers lyrics also featured this a lot). Once you're attention has been grabed it's then up to you to figure out what he means and what he's saying.

    If the lyrics were doing nothing more than attacking two people (Elvis and John Wayne) they'd be pretty weak. When you think of Elvis, John Wayne, even Johnny Cash, I could go on, you're seeing symbols, what tv, magazines, advertisments, corporations, film, MTV have fed to you, what you've been fed by these systems of power. All this stuff is what Chuck D is all about, (eg: he warned once about 'weapons of mass distraction'. MTV, mindless video games all occupy your time and mind and stop you from thinking)

    'Mother fuck him and John Wayne' is completely damning these systems of power, its also a statement of intent of wiping the cultural state clean, not only for black people, but everyone who realises that the continuation and nostalgia for these icons is utter nonsense. (It suits white authority to keep propogating such symbols: As long as those symbols stand strong then there is no space for others. Eg: Martin Luther King, with Arizona refusing to grant a national holiday for him. You can argue all you want, but White America is not going to give up its stronghold willingly). Starting afresh like this is what punk and post punk was trying to do in the late seventies and early eighties. (Terminator X's name holds a similar meaning, the eradication of all that has come before).

    Its all imagery and metaphor at the end of the day. Kurt Cobain had a sticker on his guitar that said 'Vandalism: as beautiful as a rock in a cops face'. Now you can be all sensitive and tiptoe around the subject "oh what if the cop has a family", "but that would hurt" "Elvis was really talented and sensitvie and wrote lovely songs". But thats not what making a statement is all about, statements have different levels. If someone you knew was a cop and got hit in the face by a rock, sure you'd be concerned; but as an image, a statement of dissention in the face of authority, its perfect.
    nalced777on September 11, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General Comment:JimDurb, you are one dumb bastard! Let me get this straight, your argument goes like this: "Mr. Foxman issued a statement (based on his opinion) that Public Enemy are racists, so therefore, they are racists."

    What somebody "said" makes it true, so there you go...I said it, you're a dumb bastard.
    FoggyNotionson July 21, 2008   Link

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